Arts Desk

How D.C. Police Can Fix Their Charlie Sheen Problem

The Metropolitan Police Department has taken some flak lately for the escort it provided Charlie Sheen last month between Dulles International Airport and his show at DAR Constitution Hall. Now, before this goes any further, we should probably point out that in this case, escort refers to a police motorcade, not the, er, other kind of escort Mr. Sheen is known to prefer. And though D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier said Sheen's motorcade was not "proper procedure" when the news first broke, the Associated Press is reporting otherwise this afternoon.

According to documents obtained by the AP, it wasn't a surplus of winning or tiger blood or goddesses that entitled Sheen to a motorcade. It was, in fact, fairly standard procedure. The MPD has also provided escorts to Bill Gates, Jay-Z, and John Wall, at least two of whom are more famous than Sheen.

The police have some egg on their face. How to remedy this? Fortunately for MPD, Arts Desk is sometimes a Help Desk.

  • The quick fix would be to stop police escorts of visiting celebrities altogether. But that's not really a fun solution.
  • Luckily for the MPD, the D.C. Council has among its ranks a self-professed "movie buff" in Ward 5 Councilman Harry Thomas Jr., who at a recent budget hearing fondly recounted his meeting with Clint Eastwood last fall. As an expert on celebrity, Thomas could be the designated arbiter of who gets a motorcade and who slogs their way up Interstate 66.
  • Give Emilio Estevez an escorted tour through town. The world knows all about Charlie Sheen's motorcade, and for seven years his and Estevez's father, Martin Sheen rode in motorcades as part of his portrayal of a fictional president on The West Wing. By ferrying Estevez from the airport next time the actor and director is in Washington, MPD could at least level the motorcade inequity in the Sheen family. It's not really fair to the rest of us, but at the very least it might help patch up the family.
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  • Southeast Ken

    What a waste. They can take a cab or hire a limo. The police are not there to escort self-important people who can afford to arrange for transportation. It seems like an excuse for the cops to rub elbows with celebrities. I've seen marked MPD cruisers in Maryland parked at the mall and grocery stores. I know this isn't official business and the DC taxpayers are paying the gasoline. It's a darn shame and Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier should change this policy on take home cruisers and giving private escorts to celebrities. Lanier's popularity is going down.

  • NU78

    Why is Mayor Gray silent on this issue? Doesn't he have the authority to tell Chief Lanier to stop the celebrity escorts, as a misuse of police resources and police authority? Has any reporter even bothered to approach the mayor with questions about this issue? It's not evident that anyone has even sought his comment -- even though the mayor appoints our police chief!

  • Southeast Ken

    I'm still waiting for the Washington City Paper to write an entire article on Cherita Whiting. They seem to attempt to cover this story up.